Monday, March 30, 2009

Tricycle to the Heavens


FlyingTricycle, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The other day somebody said to me, "it looks like a kid drew that," in reference to some drawing we were discussing. I always sort of laugh a bit when I hear somebody say that. Kids, you see, are the best artists around. They draw, they paint, they're not afraid to get their fingers dirty, they have no preconceived notions about how something is "supposed to look" or how much it would sell given the current economic climate and gallery trends. When they want to draw, they pick-up a crayon, when they want to paint, they pick-up a brush. Oh, to be a child again, that's what I say.

Children are very colorful and creative. They get to be. Nobody's told them yet that they "look fat in that" or that the particular color they want to wear today is "out of fashion." They don't worry about fashion, they just sort of sprint though life. Their "oh, I'm going to make a fool of myself yet again" sensors have not even been developed yet.

Kids today have a lot of cool toys too. Have you seen those sneakers (ok, track shoes if you must) that have blinking LED lights on them and sort of light up as kids run and play in them? I want a pair of those. They really should make those for adults-they look like fun. They didn't have those when I was a child but, boy, I sure wish they did.

Children enjoy the slowest form of transportation around-the tricycle. It's slow, it's outdated, it doesn't get very far, and it's even hard to operate. But, they love it. They get out there, with their blinking track shoes and push themselves around the drive like you've never seen. I want to do that too-I want to push myself on a tricycle-hey, it's better than a morning commute in Austin traffic. They don't have stoplights, and annoying radio DJs, drive through Starbucks, or yuppies in BMW's who think they are important cutting them off in traffic. Children just push and go, go and push, until they reach the end of the drive. When they get there, when they get to the end of that drive, in their own little minds, they've reached the heavens, they own the drive. I want to be like that. I want to own my own drive once again, don't you?

Yes, I want to be a kid again. To take my crayon stained fingers and my blinking shoes, push my own weight as inefficiently as I can on a silly tricycle all the way to the end of the drive, get there, stop, look up, and realize that I've reached the heavens.

Trike me to the heavens! I say. And, if you should happen to ask me if your photos look like a kid took them, I'll turn to you and say, "no, not really.They aren't good at all. But, you know, you shouldn't really ask me, I'm actually a grumpy old photographer in disguise...."

Until next time...

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Cult of Lomo


She Said Goodbye, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

While reading Ram's wonderful blog (The Food Here) it dawned on me that he's not the only one fending off some serious cult-like behavior. Those lomo people, it would appear, have a cult all to themselves. Sure, you might laugh at me for suggesting it but, when you really come down to it, they are nothing more than a film-based cult.

Think about it. They tend to have shorn hair and wear loose fitting clothing. They frequent airports. They even once got Brad Pitt to closely crop his hair and star in some "artsy" movie wherein he starts out old and grows young again. If that isn't inexplicable cult-like behavior, I don't know what is. Oh, sure, I mean, instead of the usual chanting, you know the "Hare Krishna, Hare, Hare Krishna" slogans that you typically hear, they do tend to chant the slightly different, "I Use Film!" and you might say this is a bit odd, maybe unexpected, but not totally out of the range of "cult" if you ask me.

Yes, the more I think about it, the more cult-like those lomo followers actually are. And, come to think of it, this odd cult-like behavior does go a long way to explaining the free T-shirts. I mean, just think about it, isn't that how cults work these days? They lure you in with freebies and promises of virgins in the afterlife before they lock you down, brainwash you, and sing you the group chant, which you dutifully perform at airports, all the while sucking the very lifeblood out of you and eating every last one of the dollars in your pocket. Yes, yes, the more one considers it, the more those lomo people really do clock in as their own little "cult." (Have you seen the prices of film these days?)

Just the other day, Kathy sent me an email telling me that she was trying to hook-up her Diana camera with some Polaroid film. "I went to the lomo site," she writes, "and found that they had some kind of adapter, which was cheap and easy to use, but I had to use one of their newer Diana cameras, not the antique ones that we have." Oh sure, you lomo people, I know now what you're all about-one minute you're luring us in with your newfangled Diana cameras and the next we'll be wearing loose fitting robes, dancing in the streets, banging tambourines, while chanting, "I Use Film! I Use Film! I Use Film, Film, Film!" all broke and miserable. All the while you, you lomo cult leaders around the globe bask in the glory of another man down, another digital sensor gathering dust, another brick of film sold to the masses.

Yes, you rotten lomo people, don't think for one minute that I don't know what you're up to. I see now your evil ways, I know now what you're up to, and I intend to put a stop to this once a for all.

Well, I'll put a stop to it as soon as my next film order arrives save and sound upon my doorstep. (And I'll be doing it wearing my free "I Use Film!" T-shirt. So there!)

Until next Reverend Son Myung Lomo....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Of Thrones, Cathedrals, and Lost Causes


ThroneOfCathedral, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This is the throne inside the Cathedral of Junk. It's not a "real" throne, in that no proper king, knight, or any "government official" actually sits here, it's just really a place to rest. I'm sure the guy who built the Cathedral got tired after a while, from hauling around all of that junk, and felt he needed a place to sit, so, there you have it.

Speaking on thrones, I once went to visit a proper throne in England. I went inside the Tower of London, where they have a few old thrones strewn about the place. I actually got a pretty decent photograph of that throne, one I'd love to be able to share with you, at this point in time, if only I could find it.

You see, after I got back from England (this was back in the days before we had things like Blurb and Moo to help us make books, and way before the entire scrap booking craze caught on) I decided I was going to make a book using photos from my trip. I purchased something called a "Webway album" (I swear, I am not making this up.) These were sort of cloth albums that a lot of wedding photographers used to make little presentation style books for their clients. Anyway, I got this "Webway album," in a convenient 5x7 size, and then started printing my work from England.

The problem was, back then anyway, I used to shoot a lot of slide film and it was expensive to make prints from slides. They were gorgeous when they came back from the lab, but quite expensive. The book took me a while to prepare-just being able to afford all of the prints took a bit of time, skill, and saving pennies on my part. Finally, after months of saving and printing, I did complete the book, and it was a lovely book. Eventually, I was to complete little "Webway album" style books for many of my trips-I have one from Mexico, one from Santa Fe (first trip, not the last one-that last one was all Blurb) and a few other places I went to visit. It might sound a bit odd, since we now all live in the convenient, cheap, easy (yeah right) Blurb nation, but I used to really feel a sense of accomplishment whenever I finished one of my little "Webway" style books. I used to sort of cherish them-actually, you should say that I probably still do, even though they're now outdated and replaced with far better output from the computer. There was something a bit special about holding them, and they were quite personal to me, since I had basically made them by hand.

So, getting back to my throne...I can find all of my "Webway" books, all of the little ones I made from Santa Fe and Mexico and odd places I went to see, or just sort of the "portfolio" ones I had made through the years. I enjoy all of them-all except for one. I cannot, for the life of me, find my little "Webway" book from England.

And, it's killing me. I really liked that book. It was one of my favorites and now it's gone. Damn.

It's not like I can put out a lost and found ad. You know, something like, "Lost: Little "Webway" album featuring photos taken inside the Royal Albert Hall and some random odd shots of an old throne inside the Tower of London. Reward offered, no questions asked." (Somehow, I doubt anyone in their right mind would respond to that.)

Even so, it goes without saying really but, should you happen upon a "Webway-ish" looking oddball collection of thrones from London, please do let me know. It might just be mine.

Until next time...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Going SoCal by way of the Cathedral of Junk


Cathedral Abstract No 2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Welcome to my Sunday round-up.

For starters, I guess I should tell you that I'm in talks to be represented by a gallery in downtown Los Angeles. No full details yet (at least not until I sign the contracts, dot the i's, cross the t's, and all of that.) Watch this space for details of my upcoming gallery show in LA.

Next up, in (perhaps) more interesting news, I spent part of the day yesterday (Saturday) at the Cathedral of Junk. What's a "Cathedral of Junk?" you might ask. And, in true Carol fashion, I'd be happy to tell you. (Or, you know, at least try to explain, should you happen to be interested.)

The Cathedral of Junk is this, sort of, object de art, built in some guy's home, in South Austin. While this still might not sound all that impressive, here are some additional facts about the Cathedral of Junk:

  • It's estimated to contain over 60 tons of junk.
  • He started building it in 1988 and has been contributing to it pretty steadily ever since.
  • It was built by one man.
  • It's several stories high and features a throne, ladders, built-in steps, several old TV's, and lots of stuff that's just plain unidentifiable. (I saw a red Stig there. A red Stig, several dead telephones, an eye chart, a gun, a shopping cart, several used car fenders, some skis, and a fake "shrunken head" from Polynesia...Does this sound like my kind of a place, or what?)

So, to answer the basics of, "what exactly is the Cathedral of Junk?" I'd probably have to start with, "yes. It's all of that and more." There you have it.

Watch this space for more Cathedral of Junk photos in the coming days, and be on the lookout for more detailed news of my next gallery show in California.

Until next junk...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vernal Equinox and the Status of Twilight

Today (actually yesterday in North America, where I live) marks the vernal equinox. For those of you who are not photographers, the vernal equinox plays with our concept of twilight. The solstice, typically the longest day of the year, usually gets all the credit for changing the light here-everybody thinks that it makes for the best sunrises, sunsets, and sunbathing, but, those in the know, understand how the lines of the sun, the shadows, and the like all align during the equinox. The solstice (typically, June 21st) offers up the most sunlight, this is true, but it's the equinox (today!) that gives us some of the best twilight hours we'll get to see. I hope that you are now (or in the next few days) enjoying your extended twilight hours.

Today also marks DILO day, or the passing of the art project known as "Day in the Life of..." Today marks the day where everybody who participates (myself included) goes out and takes pictures to demonstrate what their day was like. It's a global event, with DILO images already being posted from around the globe. Check out the flickr group if you are so inclined, to have a look and see what everybody is doing. (This image of the big tree in my backyard, was taken as part of my DILO outing.)

An interesting thing about the solstice, the equinox, and other seasonal events is that these things don't mean that much to us anymore. Historically, these events were very important because, back in the old days, people were farmers, hunters, gatherers, fisherman, sailors, and the like. If you have to hunt for survival, it becomes so much more important to know what time the sun was going to go down. Today, well, most of us are office workers. The "equinox" basically equates to the start of our summer holiday or maybe that happiness we feel when the 5 o'clock hour rolls around. We just don't really care about the seasons as much as we did back then, these things are not all that important to us now.

But, they're still there, turning, twisting, and changing, quietly in the background, even if we do not take notice. The earth rotates about its axis and the sun does its own celestial dance across the sky into night.The orbit of the planet is well-defined and understood now, yet somehow, completely irrelevant. We care more about things like the start of the school year, or when baseball season is going to pitch into full swing.

I do hope you enjoy your equinox this time of year, and that you get out to see, maybe even enjoy, the sky, the stars, the sun, or some other little bit of the seasonal intricacies.

Oh, and, in case you're a high-tech, "ignore all of that seasonal mumbo jumbo" she's posting again kind of person, this is also the day when most satellites go out of whack. Don't blame me if your TV goes on the fritz. It's that pesky earth orbiting 'round the sun, seasons changing yet again antiquated orbital crap that's screwing you this time-I had nothing to do with it, though I might suggest, instead of fighting with the cable box, go outside and enjoy the evening's last twilight.

If you can stand to pry yourself away from watching something like The Simple Life on TV that is.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spreading the Linky Love


Spider Web, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

As a blogger myself, I get to read a lot of blogs. Some are funny, some make you cry, some are very insightful, some are thought provoking, some bring meaning to life....Notice I mentioned funny first, right? Yeah, thought so. Anyway, I stumbled upon one that is so freaking hilariously funny I just cannot contain myself. It's spleen busting funny. It's bring tears to your eyes funny. It's, "oh my God! I can't believe he just said that!" funny. It's even funnier than that funny, it's, "oh, of course, he's going to say that funny!" You know, you just know, something is really funny when you know what it's about to say, you read it, and laugh like hell anyway. It's that kind of funny.

It's called The Food Here, and it's a blog written by a guy who owns a convenience store. You must go check it out, if you need a laugh. (Really, really funny that.)

Next up, in the linky love section for today, is a recent post by noted social documentary photographer John Sevigny, who recently posted his views on PMA to his website. You can read more here.

Hightlights (quoted from his post):
"the digital photography juggernaut has come to a screeching halt. Blame it on the "economic crisis" if you like. Whatever the cause, neither Nikon nor Canon, the only two dSLR manufacturers that matter, released a relevant body. There's nothing to replace, for example, Nikon's D40x, which is two years old now."

and

"Further proof of digital photography's 8-track-like demise is the fact that many of the film oriented products introduced at PMA are far more interesting than anything digital that bothered to show up to the party. Kaiser has announced a new, optical enlarger for $1,600 US. If film is dead, somebody better tell Kaiser."

Normally, one might dismiss such claims outright, but it's important to note here that John Sevigny has some serious photographic credentials. I think the post itself is a bit of an exaggeration (I do not think that digital is dead, about to die, or going away any time soon) but it's also indicative of the fact that film is far from dead. At the end of the day, it's really better for photographers and all those involved with the art of image making to have choices. When manufacturers start to make choices for us, when camera makers start to tell us what we "have to" do, it's never a good thing and it's always better for all involved to have options. Competition keeps us keen, lets us retain our edge, so having the selection between traditional film and wet-based darkrooms vs. going the digital route will always be better for all of those involved.

At least, that's my opinion and, if you're not in agreement, well, look on the bright side. Ram will give you 10% off any Spam-based product if you click on his website and leave him a fresh tin of comment droppings.

Until next time...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Eyes Have It


Eye Am Weird, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I'm happy to report that my show in New Orleans is now up. You can check it out on the web. For more details, visit, the Made. Gallery website.Click on the Artists link to see some of my work. I'm very excited to be in the gallery and I hope you enjoy seeing my work either in person, should you happen to make it down to New Orleans, or on the web.

In other news, the newly formed Austin Center for Photography had a feature lecture by Mary Ellen Mark the other day. Unfortunately, I had to miss it, as my back has been out on account of the weather. She's a great photographer and very worthy of their "Icons of Photography" series, and I'm happy to report it was a sold-out crowd. Here's hoping too that the ACP folks can finally organize a physical center for photography in Austin. I think it's long overdue.

Finally, I am working on a short article for an upcoming newsletter, so I might post excerpts of that here, stay tuned for more details as they emerge.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Time for a New Do


ChasesNewDo, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's been a while since I've posted, so I thought that I would put up a picture of Chase with the new 'do. This is his summer cut, in case you are curious.

I love him with the curls, I think they are wonderful, but he just will not let me brush him, so, more often than not (maybe I should say "knot" actually) he winds up a tangled mess of moptop. Well, moptop no more, Chase has been cut. We can actually see his eyes now, which is kind of nice. All I can really say is "enjoy it while it lasts." He changed his hair more often than Madonna these days.

I just wish I knew what to do with him. He doesn't like to be brushed, he doesn't like to be cut, all he likes is to jump in puddles and play in the water. Maybe I should consider dreadlocks?

Rasta Chase, anybody?

Until next time...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Spring Ahead


SoftBloomNo1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It was a bit warm today, but, even I must admit, I'm not quite sick of spring yet. The birds were out, the flowers are just starting to bloom, and everybody's been out working in the yard. It really is starting to feel a lot like spring around these parts.

I saw a bit of the news and they said that, towards the end of the week, we'll be getting a cold front. They expect the high on Thursday to be only 51 degrees. That didn't stop today's high from reaching something like 86. Wow. It felt good.

I took a few pictures of Chase with his new 'do and I hope that everybody remembered to move their clocks ahead an hour. I also managed to get a new cable box.

It was quite an ordeal, that cable box was actually. I had to wait in a long line with a very pregnant woman who looked, for certain, that she was about to give birth before her number was called by the, ahem, "good" customer service representatives at Time Warner. Given what a slow bunch of clods they are (typically) all of us in line were very worried that she would "pop" long before she got a new cable box receiver. Honestly, it felt good to get out of there, even if it meant that I had to then go home and try to hook-up the new box.

Everything went according to plan though. I had a bit of trouble with the TiVo trying to learn the new remote, but I eventually got it to work. Presumably, there's now a wee little newborn infant with really good cable reception now too, out there, somewhere, in the greater Austin area.

I hope you had a good, though maybe less bursting, weekend.

Until next time...

Friday, March 06, 2009

From Autumn to Spring - only a Winter's Tale


SmallYellowGrouping, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's starting to look a lot like spring. My TREE (large tree in the backyard) is starting to bloom. The birds are chirping again, the sun is starting to warm our afternoons. Autumn might very well be my favorite season and, right now anyway, it may seem as far away as yesterday's news, but there's something so magical about spring. Maybe it's just the idea that things are starting afresh, anew, it's a new beginning to the timeless cycle of life. I love the very concept of a "bud" and the notion that something so small could nurture and grown into something so brilliant and breathtaking. Yes, that's what I love so much about spring. It might not be pretty right now, maybe it's just starting in your neck of the woods, perhaps even winter is enjoying one last gasp of bitter cold and snow but, if you look ahead, just over that next horizon, a new spring is dawning, and it brings with it potential. The potential to enjoy a warm, sunny day, the potential that comes from nature blooming, and the potential of the vast, great outdoors.

Enjoy your fist bud of spring this year, if you can, because it's a sign that there are better things just over that horizon.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dashing About


DirtRoadSideView, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Just a quick note to let my blogging friends know that I'm still alive.

I'm almost done with the first batch of images I have to send out this week. With so many shows coming up, I've just been so busy prepping and prepping and prepping...

In other news, last night our power went out for a brief spell, followed by our cable going out afterwards. The cable box doesn't appear to have survived. I'm back to getting basic cable now but nothing like HBO. Of course, it doesn't really matter to me at this point-I've been so busy TiVo's deleting first run movies and my favorite TV shows again. *Sigh*

But, you know, on the bright side, imagine the rants I'll be able to post when things clear up a bit and I finally have time to drive over to Time Warner and throw a broken cable converted at the unluckiest customer service representative I can find.

And, just in case you're wondering, I'll be back to post more in the next week. Probably sometime between eight and midnight, be sure that there is an adult home to unlock the door.

Until next time...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday Roundup - Getting Framed

Something you might not know about me is that, after so many years as an exhibiting artist, I've gotten pretty good at hoarding supplies. I usually have enough matte board and metal sectional frames on hand to supply a small museum. Don't even get me started on gold CDs, compact flash, and the like. (I've just got bucket loads of it, ok.) But, with my upcoming "big" show, and several smaller ones looming on the immediate horizon, something unusual happened to me. I ran out of frames.

Now, I didn't run completely out of frames-technically speaking I still own quite a few. It's just that most of the are already "stuffed" with something. I ran out of the sort of "new unused" frames that I like to use when doing a show in a reputable joint.

With the deadline for my next shows coming up, coming up fast, coming up hard, and no less than 20 pieces having to fly around the entire known universe within the next few days, this was not a happy situation. I dug through the closet, I checked on the supplies, I even started digging through the "stash." Turns out, no matter how you sliced it, I was pretty much fresh out of fresh frames.

Typically, I get a lot of my supplies mail order. There's something so easy about clicking that little "buy me now!" button that makes my life a bit easier to take. I order things, tend to forget about them, and then, a few days (maybe weeks) later, they just sort of show up at my door. How cool is that? No gas wasted in my car, no having to carry heavy packages, no fighting with ugly sales clerks. I don't want to fight with sales clerks. I just want to get the crap that I need and run. (Those of you who know me know that, deep down inside, I actually hate to shop.)

So, there I was, not a frame to my name, and about 20 needed. What's a girl to do?

I decided rely upon Jerry's Artarama, a local outlet that's also a reputable (and very well-known, just ask any of your artist friends or, short of that, the great god of Google who lives on the Internets) art supply place. So, today, I walked, no make that ran, into Jerry's and almost attacked the nice man in the framing section.

"I have a one person show and like 3 others shows coming up this week and I don't have a frame to my name," I shouted at the poor nice man. "I need 16x20 frames and I need them NOW!" I was in a panic. I almost grabbed him by the shirt collar and started throttling his head. "Give me 16x20 frames! I need frames! Frames! Do you people have any FRAMES?!?!? Oh my God, I need FRAMES....."

He, of course, was sitting in a "frame" department, surrounded by something probably close to 600 frames. Lucky for me, he'd also been an artist for a long time. "Don't worry," he told me, "we're all artists here. We all do shows. We understand that you need frames. Calm down" He was probably secretly wanted to order some cheap Canadian pharmaceuticals for the crazy woman who just walked in off the street screaming about "FRAMES" while standing next to floor to ceiling displays of framing material.

He was probably the most helpful person I've encountered. He told me that, while they were out of stock on a lot of items, and 16x20 is a popular size (it is, I know that for sure) he could help me out. He hooked me up with some nice wooden frames that didn't require the use of a point driver. (I don't want to use a point driver. The very concept of a point driver scares me. It could poke my eye out. Who wants to try to frame something only to wind up poking their eye out with a small framers point hurling through space at excessive velocity? Sorry, but that's not my idea of a hot time on the old town tonight.)

I wound up getting 20 wonderful (I hope, I haven't started using them yet) nice wooden frames that all match and all do not require the use of a point driver. All of this, and they weren't too expensive either. Phew! One problem solved.

Oh, and, should you happen to go to Jerry's this week, it goes without saying really, but please be extra nice to the curly haired calm bearded gentleman who works in the back in the framing department. He's had to suffer thorough more than his fair share of crazy customers this week. Just call it a hunch, but I think he's overdue for some calm collected artist types to walk in off the street and be extra polite, telling him they don't really have a deadline but they were just sort of looking around.

Until next time...